Returning home from a night shift at a call center on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, on Feb. 25, Naveed Iqbal learned from his sons that a local criminal and three other men had taken his wife away, he said.
He filed a report at the Khana police station. Iqbal said officers took no action — except to alert the suspect, Muhammad Khalid Satti, that he had filed a report against him for abducting his wife, Saima.
“On March 5 police informed me that Saima had been found, but that she had converted to Islam and married Satti,” Iqbal said.
Police took her to a women’s shelter in Rawalpindi.
After her release from the shelter the next day Iqbal said his wife told him how she had been abducted, raped, tortured and forced to sign the marriage certificate by Satti.
“Fortunately the conversion and marriage certificates are fake, as they do not contain a cleric’s signature,” he said, noting that he has challenged the documents in court. Iqbal said his wife is suffering from post-traumatic stress.
“She is not the same person now, but I have faith that the Lord will heal her spirit with time,” he said.
Pakistan ranked fifth on Christian support organization Open Doors 2019 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.
In related news:
— A house church host in Uttar Pradesh state remains in hiding nearly two months after more than 20 Hindu extremists burst into his home Feb. 7 and attacked those present.
The extremists beat the 39 adults of the fellowship, kept them from medical care and stood outside the police station threatening to kill them if they filed a complaint.
Though fearful, some of the Christians want to meet for worship again. Police have told the Christians to register the church and warned them not to meet in homes, he said.
India is ranked 10th on Christian support organization Open Doors 2019 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.
— A police raid in March on a Baptist worship service in Kazakhstan is the latest reported incident in a long string of religious liberty violations in the Central Asian country.
The raid brought the total to three Baptist churches invaded and fined in the city of Taraz in a seven-week span, according to news sources.
Anti-terrorism police forces have filmed, photographed, fingerprinted and threatened church members, and five people have been levied large fines of one or two months’ wages.
Government officials say they are coming after the churches because they are meeting without government permission.
Such religious liberty violations are a continuing trend, and Baptists aren’t the only ones being targeted, according to Forum 18 news service.
In 2018, 165 people, organizations and religious communities were prosecuted for their faith, including some Muslims who did not pray correctly, according to police.
Kazakhstan ranked 34th on Christian support organization Open Doors 2019 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. (MS, BP)